Lawyer - DON'T JAIL IAN
...Om Lalla pleads for Crime Watch host
THE lawyer for CCN TV6's Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne asked the court today not to impose a fine or prison term against Alleyne, who pleading guilty to airing a video on three separate occasions
during his programme in October of 2011, that showed the rape of a
Attorney Om Lalla told Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayres-Caesar that Alleyne was not malicious in his intent, and was seeking justice for the girl.
Lalla said that due to the nature of the work being done by Alleyne,
his family was living in the United States and a severe sentence would affect his ability to travel to see his loved ones.
However, State Prosecutor George Busby countered that the
offence that Alleyne was guilty of, had caused mental torture to the
13 year old, who, as a result of the airing of the video, was now
known to friends, neighbour and members of the public.
Magistrate Ayres-Ceasar said she would sentence Alleyne on March 19 after considering the arguments of defence and State.
Under Section 32 (2) of the Sexual Offences Act, it is an offence to reveal the identity of a rape victim.
The legislation reads "A person who publishes or broadcasts any matter contrary to subsection 1 is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of twenty-five thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years."
Alleyne was also charged with resisting arrest but has maintained his not guilty plea. CNN TV6 is facing the same three charges and six additional charges contrary to the Telecommunications Act.
The company has however maintained its not guilty pleas on all nine charges. When he reappeared before Chief Magistrate Ayers-Caesar last Wednesday, Lalla asked that the charges be re-read, before Alleyne entered guilty pleas.
Asked by Ayers-Caesar for the facts in the matter before she passed sentence, Busby said he was unaware Alleyne had decided to change his pleas and as such he was not in possession of the facts at the point when the matter was called. Busby requested a short adjournment to today, in order to have the State's case presented. The evidence was read to this morning, before Lalla made a plea in mitigation.
He said although Alleyne admitted to broadcasting the video, he did not purposefully identify the girl, and it was the act of an overzealous person reacting to the many cases in which women were being raped and no one was being arrested and prosecuted.
Lalla noted that within 48 hours of the airing of the video, information came to Alleyne and a person was arrested and charged with the rape of the 13 year old. He said the very video was in the hands of police weeks before Alleyne aired it.
Lalla said as a result of the incident, other media houses had reviewed their policy regarding the identification of sexual assault victims.
However, Busby said he was "sick and tired" of persons making a plea in mitigation about the danger of their travel visas being taken away. He said the offence was not just about the airing of the video, but the effect on the life of the girl, who now had to live with the exposure for the rest of her life.
Alleyne's Facebook page stated that today is his birthday and he is 36 years old. He was mobbed by supporters when he left the Port of Spain Magistrates' Court. Some fans brought him gifts.